It was almost one year ago at this time that Kevin Aviance, the iconic gender-bending performer and downtown personality, was savagely attacked in a gay-bashing in Manhattan's East Village. "Aviance found his image changed overnight from that of an oversize black man with an outsize drag persona to that of an invalid stuck in a wheelchair," reports the Village Voice. "Not only couldn't he sing, he could barely talk through jaws wired shut."
As a result of the depression, isolation and unstructured time, Aviance turned to an familiar habit that threatened to destroy what his four young assailants could not: Crystal methamphetamine. "I'd been doing drugs for a long time. It was a way of life. I was able to have a career, wear the clothes I wanted, get high."
"It got crazy," he said. "I was drinking, drugging—shopping to sex to everything. I was trying to fill this void in my life. Crystal meth was the one thing that took me over the edge. I was doing it to keep myself going. I had to get outside my head..."
Fueled by alcohol and any other mood-altering substance within reach, Aviance went on crystal binges that got longer and longer, with "Suicide Tuesday" comedowns that grew worse and worse.
Thankfully, friends staged an intervention and Aviance went into rehab. (More on crystal meth and black gay men here and here.) Kevin's recovery has been remarkable—in addition to producing his third album, the performer just debuted a line of women's shoes which "run to a size 13!" he laughs.
Clay Cane was treated to a glamorous preview: "Kevin's expression is just as creative as his stage performances. The heels are graced with names like 'Willona', 'Alive' and 'Belinda', full of straps, jewels, buckles and more. The footwear range from $70 - $100—not bad to walk in the shoes of a diva."
"I’ve always wanted to be a designer and to go in that fashion world," Kevin Aviance tells Cane in an interview at the New York Blade. "I have a big fetish for high heels. The inspiration is my mother and other fierce women in my life. I’m dedicating my first collection to them."
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